Bangladesh to slash its own climate adaptation fund

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation – Wed, 18 Jun 2014 10:30 GMT

Author: Syful Islam

DHAKA, Bangladesh (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Bangladesh plans to cut spending from its own budget on climate change adaptation and rely more in the future on funds from donors, government officials said.

The low-lying South Asian nation, considered one of the countries most at risk from climate impacts such as sea level rise, worsening erosion and erratic rainfall, has been a leader in the developing world in committing its own funds to climate adaptation. Officials allocated $320 million from the country’s budget over five years to a domestic climate adaptation fund, said Finance Minister A.M.A. Muhith in a budget speech to parliament.

But “this allocation will be reduced in the future and instead steps will be taken to increase (funding to) the Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund, established with the assistance of our development partners,” Muhith said in a June 5 speech. That fund has so far received $187 million from international donors, with some of the money going to adaptation projects.

The minister proposed no new funding for the Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund (BCCTF), the country’s own adaptation funding initiative, in the next budget.

The change comes as part of an update to the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan of 2009.

MISUSE OF FUNDS

Critics of the decision said the change in strategy comes in part because of questions raised about the alleged misuse of funds from the country’s adaptation trust fund, and the government’s desire to avoid further controversy in the future.

Last October, the Bangladesh chapter of Transparency International said it had found evidence of political influence, nepotism and corruption in the way funds were allocated.

“A significant amount of money had been allocated for the BCCTF in the last five years but the spending was poor. Besides, the way the fund was managed has raised questions for many, which led no fresh allocation in the new budget,” Shamsul Alam, a member of the Bangladesh’s Planning Commission, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation over telephone.

He said one advantage of relying on donor-funded climate adaptation projects it that they help transfer expertise and modern technology on adaptation, something Bangladesh in some cases lacks. “Capacity building of people on the ground is a must to adapt to climate change impacts,” he said.

Asked if donors might feel less willing to channel money to Bangladesh as a result of the government cutback in its own spending, he noted that in the new budget the government has imposed a “green tax” on industries that do not have a waste treatment plant.

That change “proves Bangladesh’s sincerity to climate change adaptation and keeping the environment free of pollution,” he said.

Atiq Rahman, executive director of Bangladesh Center for Advanced Studies (BCAS), told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a telephone interview that Bangladesh still has a lot to do to adapt to climate change, particularly as it is so vulnerable.

He said the southern part of the country is particularly vulnerable, with 20 million people already lacking sufficient food, safe drinking water and sanitation systems. Drought-prone northern districts will also need large-scale climate adaptation programmes, he said.

DISCOURAGING DONORS?

Rahman said he thinks the government’s decision to cut its own spending on climate adaptation is the wrong one.

“The BCCTF should be kept well funded and replenished to encourage donors to pay more in the resilience fund. Unless you pay a portion on your own, why will donors feel interested to pay for your adaptation programmes?” he asked.

But greater transparency needs to be put in place in the spending of climate funds, to ensure the money goes to support people in the most need of help.

Hasan Mahmud, a member of parliament and Bangladesh’s former environment minister said adaptation projects costing less than $25 million will suffer the most if Bangladesh’s adaptation trust fund has no resources.

Donors for the most part only sponsor climate resilience projects larger than $25 million, he said in a telephone interview, but many of the projects Bangladesh needs most cost in the range of $5 million to $10 million.

“Big projects are not needed everywhere,” he said.

The government’s decision to create its own adaptation trust fund was highly praised by donor agencies and countries and a major encouragement for them to channel money to Bangladesh, he said.

“Donors felt (the depth of) Bangladesh’s seriousness about adaptation, despite not being responsible for climate change, following formation of the fund. Now the donors may get a wrong message and raise questions about whether we need any more adaptation funds since we have stopped spending from our own,” Mahmud warned.

Syful Islam is a journalist with the Financial Express newspaper in Bangladesh. He can be reached at: [email protected]

http://www.trust.org/item/20140618092711-072sy/?source=hpeditorial&siteVersion=mobile#

Indonesia’s new forest agency head expected to speed reform

COLOMBO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The recent appointment of a new head for Indonesia’s fledgling REDD+ Agency, tasked with reducing climate-changing emissions from deforestation, is expected to accelerate tree planting and other efforts to protect forests in the Southeast Asian nation, as well as raising more funds for this work. http://www.trust.org/item/20140108104601-gxicv/

India struggles to control rising vehicle use, pollution

NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Environmental and public health experts are warning that an explosion in the number of motorised vehicles on India’s roads is threatening the health and economic security of its population.

Stricter standards are needed to control vehicular pollution and regulate traffic, they say, along with moves to popularise non-motorised transport.

More at: http://www.trust.org/item/20131219175901-vb54c

Conservation of Mangroves for climate change mitigation

Conservation of Mangroves for climate change mitigation

Mark Spalding, principal investigator on the project and a marine scientist at the US-based worldwide conservation organisation The Nature Conservancy, says: “These results can help guide decisions regarding priority areas for the conservation and rehabilitation of mangroves for climate change mitigation.”

International Union of Conservation (IUCN) advisor on coastal ecosystem and famously known as father of mangroves, Tahir Qureshi said, “About 20 years ago, mangroves were at 5,000 hectors in Karachi but now its limited to less than 3500 hectors, Port Qasim, Karachi Harbour, Mai Kullachi, Boat Basin, Kaka Pir, Baba Bhit, Salehabad, Manora, Ibrahim haideri and all other areas at east and west coast of Karachi are witnessing shrinking mangroves deposit and as a result population of birds, fishes on decline while shrimps and lots of other species are alarmingly vanishing” he added.

Beside threats to nature, scientist believe that Sindh coast lies in a dangerous zone where storm surge could be dangerous and Karachi is one of vulnerable city where Industrial effluents, oil spills, municipal waste and land mafia are the real time threats for sea itself.

Worldwide study of mangrove swamps’ carbon storage capacity will help scientists identify where efforts should be focused to protect these rich resources for climate change mitigation.

http://e.jang.com.pk/11-03-2013/karachi/mag8.asp

Disaster dice loaded against poorest countries

TOKYO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – It is often said that people in the poorest countries suffer most from climate hazards and the effects of a warming world. Now we have the data to prove it.

Between January 1980 and July 2013, climate-related disasters caused 2.52 million deaths around the globe. Of the total, a disproportionately high number of deaths – 1.28 million or 51 percent – were recorded in the world’s 49 least developed countries (LDCs), according to a recent briefing paper from the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). – http://www.trust.org/item/20131206094547-fy6ma/?source=hptop

India’s farmers turn ‘climate smart’

Bihar, Haryana farmers turn ‘climate smart’

Sandip Das Nov 26, 2013
New Delhi : Horil Singh, a farmer from Rajapakkar village of Vaishali district in Bihar, has been seeing fluctuations in rainfall pattern and temperature for almost a decade now.This has impacted his paddy and pulse produce to a large extent till a global initiative launched in 2010, to help small farmers in dealing with climate change, helped him in creating vertical drainage systems that let excess rainwater seep quickly back into a natural acquifer.

Vikas Chaudhary, a farmer from Karnal in Haryana, has adopted conservation farming methods such as zero tillage, direct seeding and soil health-based fertiliser application for the last three years.

Farmers like Singh and Chaudhary are being helped under this initiative. Farmers from around 40 villages are being trained through this method and ‘climate smart’ villages are being piloted in Bihar and Haryana.

Many farmers in the two districts of Bihar and Maharashtra have been trained on the usage of technology such as increasing carbon content in the soil through agro forestry, manure management and optimum application of nitrogen through ‘crop sensors device’, which saves cost and keeps in check greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Through collaborative efforts of various international agencies including ministry of agriculture under Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) platforms, hundreds of farmers have been trained on various agronomic practices that save the crop from excessive rains and drought through ‘climate smart’ villages concept.

“With encouraging response for the climate smart villages concept, the programme would be implemented in Maharashtra in a larger scale shortly,” Pramod Aggarwal, Regional Programme Leader, CCAFS told FE

He said the focus of climate smart village programme has been integrating available local knowledge on conservation technique along with global prospective on climate change mitigation. “We want more villages to adopt these techniques,” Aggarwal said.

Agriculture ministry and Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) provide support through various schemes and data on weather to farmers, global agencies are bringing in technical know-how to help farmers impacted by climate change.

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) helps farmers in prioritising adaptation and mitigation options, International Water Management Institute (IWMI) has been helping farmers in dealing with water-logging through vertical drains. International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) is providing inputs on conservation agriculture through precise use of fertiliser.

“The challenges faced by farmers are going to be more pronounced as climate change worsens. Let’s hope that sustainable agricultural practices show promising results and lower costs.,” said Ashok Gulati, chairman, Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).

Good science & good journalism: what’s the link?

Posted in Indigenus blog

by Subhra Priyadarshini | Category: ,

In journalism, the more you write about a particular issue, the more chances you have of being heard by people who matter and of impacting public policy — that’s an obvious thing.

In science, the more you publish, the more you influence your peers and, in effect, people who matter. Now, that too is pretty obvious.

In many ways — especially when the issues are of immediate importance to you and me (such as the environment or health) — journalism and scientific publishing have a lot in common. They help create the buzz, bring matters to the fore and, if done well, could influence national policies. In many cases, a glaring scientific observation lends seamlessly to a brilliant work of high-impact journalism and vice-versa.

The latest IPCC working group report (fifth assessment report or AR5), as always and with reason, got a lot of media attention when it was released last month. There have been studies and more studies showing how media coverage of climate change issues peaks during IPCC negotiations and before and after the release of such ARs. However, there’s also much disappointment among negotiators and climate change communicators that effective coverage does not happen where it matters most.

During a south Asian climate change communicators’ meet last year, the issue of journalism versus activism was discussed at length as a section of journalists seemed to be gleefully crossing the line, created by modern journalism, to “do their bit for the society”. Some debated that we live in times when journalism is no longer considered a vocation, it is a profession guided mostly by advertising revenue, circulation/viewership and space/time crunch. However, most agreed that environment journalism is still that niche area where these lines often blur effortlessly.

Award winning environmental journalist Mark Schapiro says science lends itself seamlessly to great investigative stories.

The sentiments were echoed this month when a meet of global investigative journalists discussed how environmental journalism could be made more scientific and high-impact. The session discussed at length the many layers of environmental coverage, the use of scientific methodology and new age tools (satellite images, scientific literature and geotagged maps) to make sense of it all.

Taking this discussion to the next level — that is to ask ‘how environment journalists can make a difference’ — David Dodman of London-based International Institute of Environment and Development recently outlined what journalists in their role as communicators can do towards “strengthening the resilience of vulnerable citizens and infrastructure.”  They could advocate wise use of funds to improve living conditions and build resilience.

Dodman says urban populations in Africa and Asia live in places exposed to hazards, such as floods and tropical storms, which will become more frequent and intense in the coming decades. Many towns and cities lack the necessary basic infrastructure and resources to reduce the risk that such hazards pose,” he wrote in his blog. Urban residents are not always aware of the range of funds that their cities could use. Journalists can inform vulnerable citizens about them, so that citizens can in turn make the right demands from their authorities at different scales, he says.

A couple of months ago, an article in Nature Reviews Climate Change made a direct connection between pollution in a particular country/region to the number of scientific papers published in that country/region. The article accompanied by a beautiful map  concluded that the more the number of scientific papers produced from a country, the lesser are its pollution levels. “Good scientific research is necessary to provide the basis for the implementation of policies that aim to control harmful environmental agents, helping society to decide a course of action,” write Lais Fajersztain and colleagues in the paper.

They also infer from their study that governments that spend more on health care have more stringent air quality standards, probably because of greater governmental awareness of the adverse health effects of air pollution and the consequent establishment of air pollution control measures to avoid increased health costs. The researchers found that scientific research on the impact of air pollution on health is concentrated mainly in North America and Europe, China, Australia, Brazil and Japan. Such research is practically nonexistent in Africa, India and other South American countries — developing countries were found to contribute only 5% of the total research.

The map depicted a comparative panel of the number of papers produced from 1983 to date on malaria, water quality and air pollution, using the Web of Science database. “There was a marked imbalance between levels of air pollution and local scientific production: a more balanced scenario emerges when waterborne diseases and malaria are considered,” the scientists wrote.

Now that is something to pick on. And it brings to fore another question: are countries traditionally doing well in science also producing the best journalistic works? The question, in turn, merits another scientific study.

Good science and good journalism will never cease to give-and-take.

Weeping sea : Documentary on climate change

Weeping sea 
 Duration: 21 minutes
 Language: Malayalam (Subtitled in English)
 Direction: K Rajendran
 Camera: K Rajendran, Rahul R Chandran, Muhammed Basheer
 Editing: Jayakrishnan

 

An investigation on
How does climate impact marine and fisheries sector?
How does it affect fishermen?

How does human intervention precipitate climate change impacts?

1. Depletion of Mussels.
Location: Elephant mussels hill, Thiruvanandhapuram.
Two varieties of mussels are found in Kerala;Brown mussels and green
mussels. This (September-December) is the season of mussels. Huge
depletion of mussels is being found this season. Depletion is being felt
during last 3 years. According to marine expert this is due to the climate
change.

2. Fishes disappearing

Location; Kovalam beach, Thiruvanandhapuram
Many varieties of fishes are disappearing in Kerala sea shore.. Kilimeen (Mesoprion) is the best example. According to Central Marine and Fisheries research institute, it is one of the best examples of climate change impact on fisheries. Kilimeen is known as the ideal fish for poor. Because of it’s less
cost and good taste. So it’s depletion is widely effected the poor who doesn’t have enough money to purchase fishes of high cost.

3 .How islanders are affected?

Location: Lakshadweep
How lonely islander is being affected? .Lakshadweep is the best example.
Three islands in Lakshadweep, Pitti(Fastest sinking Island) ,Kavarathi,
Agathy are telling their stories.
Here 3 climate change impacts;
A . Water level is rising marginally.
B. Depletion of fishes is being felt
C. Corals are vanishing.
4. Salty water
Location; Mavilakadavu village, Poovar

This is a new phenomenon in many of the villages in Kerala. Water in the well became alty although it is situating 5 or 6 Km away from sea. According to marine expert this is an excellent example of climate change.

5. Human intervention expedites climate change

Location: Puzhikara beach
Once, the beautiful beach Puzhikara, was known for the varieties of fishes. Now it has become a “beach of Eagles”. The beach has been turned as a dumping place of waste. Eco system in the seashore is being scuttled.6. Encroachments

Location; Vembanadu backwater, Alapuzha
This backwater is converted as a lake of Tourism and encroachment. All existing laws are being violated. Encroachments are being done by big corporates. Authorities act as mute spectators.

Kindly watch the filmPlease click here